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It’s All Downhill from Here

How and where to go sledding around Boston

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Good sledding conditions may be the best side effect of winter snowstorms—there’s nothing like whizzing down a hill, catching air over bumps, and spilling out at the bottom. The trek back uphill is great exercise, too—perfect in case you’ve let the traditional New Year’s resolution slide.

You don’t have to go too far for good sledding, either: Brookline, Boston, and other nearby communities have great hills just a short T or bus ride away. Check out these locations:

Larz Anderson Park
Newton St., Brookline
This park is said to have the best sledding around, offering both large and small hills. City officials occasionally smooth out bumps in the turf to keep sledders from soaring a little too high. The park also offers an ice skating rink and a snack bar. To get there, take the Green Line C trolley to Cleveland Circle. Change to Bus 51 and get off at the corner of Newton and Lee Streets. From there it’s a five-minute walk. Take a left on Newton Street, then bear left onto Goddard Avenue. The park is on your right.

Outlook Park
Summit Ave., Brookline
Outlook Park, just a short T ride from campus, is easy to find, off of Beacon Street. To get there, take the Green Line C trolley to Fairbanks Street. Walk up Lancaster Terrace and then take a right on Summit Path.

The Sugar Bowl
Jamaica Pond, Brookline
This sledding spot is an inverted hill, so the aim is to get enough momentum for the sled to go back up the other side. To get there, take the Orange Line to Green Street and walk toward Jamaica Pond.

Flagstaff Hill
Boston Common
Running parallel to Charles Street, this hill is right near the baseball diamond. It’s popular with families and can get crowded on snowy weekends. Take the Green Line inbound to Boylston Street or Park Street.

Tufts University
Davis Square, Somerville
Sledding is allowed on the steep President’s Lawn, and Tufts looks out for your safety by putting haystacks around trees and fences to cushion any crashes. Take the Red Line towards Alewife and get off at Davis. Walk up College Avenue towards the Tufts campus. Head up the stairs and the President’s Lawn is on your left.

Tubing Parks
A bit north of the Boston area, two tubing parks offer the best sledding conditions around. Nashoba Valley’s snow tubing park in Littleton, Mass., is open until 10 p.m., making for a fun evening outing. A two-hour ticket costs $25. Lifts take you and your tube to the top. A lodge also offers shelter from the cold, with snacks and hot chocolate. Snowmaking makes the trails great no matter the weather. A three-hour pass at Amesbury Sports Park, Amesbury, Mass., costs $22, $30 for the whole day. Both parks offer group rates, so get the dorm floor together to save some money. Driving directions to Nashoba are here. Directions to Amesbury are here.

Sledding enthusiasts will take any path down the hill—whether it’s atop a garbage bag or a cafeteria tray—but you can buy the real deal near the BU campus. City Sports, 1065 Commonwealth Ave., sells sleds and winter gear, and offers a 15 percent off coupon, available here. EMS, 1041 & 1045 Commonwealth Ave., has sleds for as little as $10 and offers a student discount with a Terrier Card.

The best kind of sled is up for debate. Inner tubes are fast and offer a cushion over bumps, but can spin out of control on steeper and slicker hills. Classic wooden toboggans allow several people to ride at the same time, but are heavier and therefore go slower and are more difficult to lug up a hill; they can be upwards of $100. Plastic saucers are the least expensive, but the rider feels every bump, and they’re prone to break.

Sledding can result in serious injuries, so to be safe, keep these safety tips in mind:

Dress in layers—waterproof pants, a warm jacket, mittens, a hat, and a neck warmer—to prevent frostbite.

On the hill, there may be trees, rocks, and exposed areas of grass that can disrupt the sled’s path and make sledding more dangerous. Take a walk up and down the hill before your first sledding run to be sure there are no dangerous obstacles.

Make sure you know how to stop the sled to prevent sliding into a nearby road.

Doctors recommend wearing a helmet while sledding because of the risk of serious head injuries.

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

This updated story originally ran January 16, 2009.

5 Comments

5 Comments on It’s All Downhill from Here

  • kcornuelle on 01.16.2009 at 10:07 am

    sledding!

    yesss! I can’t wait to (completely bundled up and wearing a helmet of course) get out there and go sledding! It would probably be better to wait for some new snow though… some of that stuff out there is like a block of ice!

  • Anonymous on 02.11.2010 at 9:46 am

    I can’t wait to go to one of these hills and see a college-aged kid wearing a helmet while sledding. Hahahaha.

  • Anonymous on 02.02.2011 at 6:48 am

    this is such a TEASE where’s my snowday???

  • Riks on 02.02.2011 at 4:51 pm

    Way to go, BU

    Congratulations, BU. When other universities had the sense to close their campuses, you persevered and insisted on holding classes. I have come close to falling multiple times today and ended up with my feet fully submerged in enormous puddles, particularly on Bay State, only to then sit through a three-hour class with my shoes and socks completely soaked and my feet freezing. One poor girl fell down some stairs because of the ice. The BU bridge is a slippery disaster. Taking the horrid weather conditions into account, who thought it wise not to shut down the campus? I don’t like missing classes when you factor in the cost of tuition, but today I would have made an exception. Please get your act together. I don’t pay thousands of dollars to risk slipping and falling, potentially into traffic or into another person, because no one bothers to assess the degree to which BU can realistically deal with inclement weather. People have varying degrees of clumsiness, and I don’t like inching forward while clutching a guard rail to make sure I don’t lose my footing and fall on my face, or worse, my back. Remember Joe Pesci in Home Alone? I’m not game for that.

  • Anonymous on 02.02.2011 at 8:11 pm

    Larz Anderson Park, Brookline

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